Melissa Hathaway, a Bush administration official who is credited with helping to develop a multi-billion-dollar classified initiative aimed at better securing federal systems and critical-infrastructure networks against online threats, has been named by President Barack Obama to lead a 60-day review of the government's cybersecurity efforts.
Hathaway was named acting senior director for cyberspace for the National Security Council as well as the Homeland Security Council. She has been tasked with conducting the governmentwide review of ongoing cybersecurity programs and developing recommendations for ensuring that they are aligned with government and private-sector needs, according to a statement released by the White House Monday evening.
A story posted online Sunday by The Wall Street Journal, quoting unnamed government sources, said that Hathaway was expected to be chosen to head up a new White House cybersecurity office after the review was completed. The statement about the review from the White House didn't address that possibility.
Hathaway has been working as a cybercoordination executive for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (download PDF). She chaired a multiagency group called the National Cyber Study Group that was instrumental in developing the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which was approved by former President George W. Bush early last year. Since then, she has been in charge of coordinating and monitoring the CNCI's implementation.
Amit Yoran, a former director of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division, said today that although Hathaway isn't very well known outside of Washington, she is a "known entity" within the federal cybersecurity community.